The Aggies came up just short of their ultimate goal this season, winning the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championships. However, with multiple highs and lows this year, they persevered and still fought their way into the Big West semifinals, deservedly earning the title of Men’s Team of the Quarter.
The biggest upset for the team this season was not making it to that final coveted championship match. In a well fought battle between the Aggies and UC Irvine, the Anteaters ultimately came out on top in their semifinal victory over UC Davis by the score of 2-0 in Irvine, Calif. This marked the last game of the year for UC Davis and the last game of the seven graduating seniors’ UC Davis careers.
“I thought we played well but the result against Irvine just didn’t go our way,” said senior goalkeeper Omar Zeenni.
Although the Aggies fell short in the end, the athletes played in multiple pivotal games that several players agree were huge highlights of the year. Playing at one of the most intimidating stadiums on the west coast, the Aggies took on nationally-ranked University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M. on Sept. 27.
“From a team aspect, one of our best moments was definitely beating New Mexico at New Mexico and knowing how big that game was on the road for us,” said senior captain forward Alex Aguiar.
Other big wins for the Aggies included their first matchup at home versus UC Irvine, besting the then top-25 team 2-0, along with clinching home-field advantage in the first round of the Big West Tournament thanks to the end of the season wins versus Cal Poly and Sac State. They capped off a fantastic season by winning in their first round Big West Tournament matchup at home against UC Riverside that carried them to that semifinal game in Irvine.
Overall, the Aggies fought hard throughout the year with some big wins on the road and at home. With 23 players returning, there are high hopes for the team’s future success.
“I have the utmost confidence in the returning players to train hard and win the conference tournament next season,” Zeenni said.
For the tremendous work the UC Davis men’s soccer team has put in this season and the success they have earned, they have earned the honor of being called the Men’s Team of the Quarter.